Only be strong and courageous!
- from Joshua 1:18
In today’s passage the people gather together to affirm their willingness to follow Joshua’s leadership. And they give him this charge: be strong and courageous.
Last week we studied the first half of Joshua 1. Over and over and over again the Lord repeats this refrain to Joshua: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua will be leading in difficult situations and in uncertain times. Strength and courage will be called on from him daily.
The Lord knows Joshua needs strength and courage. Joshua knows it too. And now we see that the people knew it as well. In today’s passage, Joshua’s community speaks over him the same words that the Lord spoke over him.
We need our communities to reinforce the word of God that’s spoken over us. How difficult it is to believe the word of God if your community speaks a different word over you!
We all will struggle at times to believe the word of God that is spoke over us. Our sense of shame will attempt to blot out the word of God’s forgiveness. Our fear of rejection will try to shout down the word of God’s acceptance. Our feelings of inadequacy will do their best to drown out God’s call to mission. God knows that his word receives opposition in the world and in our hearts. That’s one of the reasons he places us in community.
One of the chief tasks of the Christian community is to speak and re-speak the word of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ echoes as we speak words of forgiveness, acceptance, and mission to each other; as we repeat to each other the words that God has spoken over us.
What words has God spoken over you? What words of God are you struggling to believe today? Do you have voices in your life who reinforce for you the words that God has spoken over you? What steps can you take to seek out people who will speak and re-speak God’s words to you?